The Barcaldine region is traditionally home to the Iningai, Wadjabangai, Liba, Inigas, Jagalingu, Jirandali, Mootaburra, Pitjara, Kuungkari peoples. European exploration by Major Thomas Mitchell in 1846 lead to European Settlement in 1863 with the town gazetted in 1886. Barcaldine is well known as the site for the Great Shearer’s Strike of 1891 and being the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party.
Wanpa-rda Matilda Outback Education Centre is situated in Barcaldine in the very centre of Queensland. Part of the enormous Lake Eyre catchment area and part of Central West Queensland’s desert channel country, the rugged landscapes and contrasting flora and fauna colour the many environments of the West. Explore mulga and gidyea scrub to the wide-open Mitchell grass plains and the Black Wattle country of the dessert uplands. Discover the weird and wonderful wildlife from red kangaroos, emus, goannas, echidnas, brolgas and much more, or observe the ancient Aboriginal sites, ochre pits and early settlement sites such a Grey Rock and the Cobb & Co trails.
Sitting on top of the Great Artesian Basin, the largest ground water basin in the world (1 711 000 square kilometres, or about one fifth of Australia), Barcaldine boasts some of the sweetest drinking water in the world. The flow of water in the Artesian Basin is between 1 and 5 meters per year and dating of the Artesian waters has given ages if almost 2 million years.
The centre is a 5 acre site, which has many environmental sustainability features, including solar powered facilities, and an independent automated water saving water system that is independent from the town water supply. The centre is sited within the grounds of the Australian Workers Heritage Centre. The centre is set in two hectares of beautifully landscaped gardens surrounding a tranquil billabong complete with fish, turtles and native birds.
Visitors can enjoy a picnic or barbeque, while the kids explore our modern playground facilities.